how to lose weight on a paleo diet

I went Paleo to Lose Weight

I have to admit that I first started a Paleo diet because I thought it would help me shed the stubborn pounds I had put on during law school (there were a lot of free pizza parties and way too much drinking).

It wasn’t easy for me to lose weight (even on Paleo) because I’ve never been overweight (and so there wasn’t many lbs of fat for me to lose!). In fact, every time I tell people I’m on a diet, I always get the shocked outburst of: “but you’re so skinny, you don’t need to be on a diet!!” But like most people, I get unhappy whenever my clothes started getting tight, and I could always tell (even without a scale) when I had put on weight. The fat always piled on around my stomach first :(

Luckily, I figured out how to shed even the stubborn fat using a Paleo diet!

Of course, as the years went on, I found that Paleo was great for way more than just weight loss, but since so many people want to know the secret of losing weight, I thought I’d share my 5 tips for losing weight on a Paleo diet in this article.

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everything you need to know about the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP)
This article is a little bit more important than usual.

So it’s also a little bit longer than usual. But you should read it all. Especially if you have an autoimmune disease, and probably even if you don’t.

I get a lot of emails from readers asking about the Autoimmune Protocol (often abbreviated “AIP”) within Paleo. Questions like: “What is it?” “Is it right for me?” “How do I do it?” and “Will it help me with ______ problem?”

Unfortunately, there just wasn’t a great article or series of articles that clearly answered all of these questions. And that was a shame.

So…I decided to write this article. It’s a very thorough but easy-to-read guide to AIP, including a comprehensive, printable list of foods that are allowed or not allowed on AIP that you can have emailed to you by clicking below or at the end of the article. There’s also a handy AIP FOOD TABLE below that you can Pin, so keep reading!

What is an Autoimmune Disease?

The first time someone told me they had an autoimmune disease, I thought they meant they had AIDS (yes, I was quite clueless, despite the fact that I actually have an autoimmune disease). For the difference between Autoimmune Disease (AID) and Acquired Immune Deficiency (AIDS), check out this article.

Let me begin by explaining the basics of an autoimmune disease, because the chances are that you might have one!

Autoimmune diseases occur when your body’s own immune system starts attacking your own body’s proteins. This happens because your body thinks that those proteins are a foreign substance (e.g., a bacteria) that need to be destroyed. Unfortunately, this can end up causing widespread destruction of your own organs and cells instead.

There are a ton of different autoimmune diseases (some may not have even been identified, and many of them are obscure like the one I have). Most autoimmune diseases differ based on which proteins/cells are being attacked by your immune system.

Here are some autoimmune diseases you might have come across:

  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
  • Graves’ disease
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Psoriasis
  • Celiac Disease
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Lupus
  • Narcolepsy
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Mulitple Sclerosis
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa
  • Alopecia Areata
  • Autoimmune Hepatitis
  • Angioedema (what I have)

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paleo gluten-free wedding planning

Weddings are Tough!

If you’ve ever planned any large party or event, then you’ll know just how tough it can be.

There are so many moving parts to organize, so many different people to please, and always some last minute glitches! So just imagine when you also have to add in Paleo/Gluten-Free/Dietary Restrictions into the mix!

From the start, Jeremy and I were worried about the food at our wedding, and we found a caterer months before we did anything else (I wrote about our wedding menu just before the wedding in this post)!

Our caterer (Joshua Charles) was fantastic, but all sorts of other food and drink issues come up nearer the time (should we serve a cake, what about desserts, what oils should the food be cooked in, was there enough variety for everyone, what party favors would our guests like, what alcohols should we serve, should we serve soda???). And this was outside of the technical issues we encountered with our RSVP website (we wanted to go high tech) or our uncertainty as to whether the taxi service would be able to drop people at the location or our last minute decision to install a dance floor into the courtyard (and yes, the police did stop by for a friendly chat with me about the noise!).

It would have been easy just to give up on my diet for one day, but this was the biggest opportunity I had for demonstrating to my closest family and friends just how fantastic Paleo food is and can make them feel! And it turned out to be not difficult at all because we paid attention to the five areas below.

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how to start paleo
Recently, I returned from Vegas to find piles of clothes strewn everywhere around my house.

For some people, this might mean that there had been a burglary.  Not for me.  This was simply how I’d left things.

Even my closet had piles of clothes on various shelves.  (And by “piles,” I don’t mean neat and folded stacks.)  So as I began unpacking my suitcase, I was initially tempted to simply dump more clothes on top of the piles already in my closet.

That’s when it dawned on me.  I was waiting for “someday” to throw away all the clothes I never wear (several still had the tags on!).

my someday failure

Are You a Someday Person?

I didn’t think I was.

While at dinner one night in Las Vegas, several of us girls discussed our husbands (always a fruitful topic!).  The conversation drifted to the topic of laundry, and one girl told us her way of ensuring that her husband never wears clothes that she hates:  “I tell him that if he ever wears it and it comes through the laundry, he will never see it again.”
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should you get the flu shot?

“I’d NEVER get the flu shot – it’s got mercury in it.”

That was my coworker’s reaction after I told her that I had just gotten my flu shot (which I had told her as a passing “I should say something to make conversation” statement.)

This definitely was not the response I was expecting, and it suddenly invoked strong feelings within me:

  • Fear. Had I just willingly allowed someone to inject mercury into my veins?
  • Anger. Why is she trying to scare me with her sensationalist claims again?
  • Quite a lot of confusion. So what is this flu shot all about anyway – does it even work?

Let’s just say that those feeling did not lead to the most productive of conversations. However, what it did leave me was a feeling that I had to get to the bottom of this.

Are flu shots dangerous or am I just defending my sense of pride for having gone and gotten a flu shot without examining all the facts? What does the flu shot protect against – did I just waste all that time for something that won’t even protect me from the flu? And should I get the flu shot in the future?
Discover the truth!

67 Proven Uses for Coconut Oil

67 proven ways to use coconut oil
You might have seen coconut oil sold many places or mentioned on websites and wondered what the heck you should be using it for.

Well, I used to think coconut oil was just for cooking until my friend pointed out that her grandmother had used it as a hair product forever. Of course, from then on, I started encountering different uses for coconut oil everywhere – I even read about it being used as a sun-burn cream in one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books (you know, the guy that wrote The Great Gatsby and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).

So, to help you start using coconut oil, here are 67 of my favorite uses – and to prove I’m not making all this up, I’ve provided links to some excellent skin care recipes, food recipes, as well as scientific studies and testimonials.

Now, go get yourself a jar of coconut oil and start using it!

  1. To cook with instead of vegetable or seed oils. Coconut oil naturally has a high smoking point, is highly stable due to its high saturated fat content, and imparts very little “coconut” flavor to your foods. I use it to cook pretty much everything – check my recipes if you don’t believe me!
  2. In your coffee/tea instead of creamer. Yes – that’s right, use coconut oil, not coconut milk! In case you’re confused about this, here’s my video showing you exactly how to make it.
  3. To wash your face with instead of soap. It sounds strange, but oil washes impurities out better than soap and it doesn’t dry your skin! It takes a week to get used to it – the skin on your face is so used to being dried out by soap and facial cleansers that it’s producing extra oil to counteract it. So, it’ll take a little bit of time for your skin to stop producing all that extra oil. Be patient – it’s worth it!
  4. To brush your teeth with. Coconut oil has many antimicrobial properties which can make it good at killing off bacterial in your mouth. To make your own toothpaste, simply add 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil (melt it in the microwave very briefly so that it’s softened) to 2-3 Tablespoons of baking soda. Mix to form a paste and spread on your toothbrush. (The baking soda whitens your teeth.)
  5. Here’s my video of a coconut and olive oil blend toothpaste recipe.

  6. For oil pulling. This is similar to the previous use in that it helps with oral hygiene. Oil pulling has long been a popular practice in India and with Ayurvedic practitioners. It involves swishing oil around your mouth for 20 minutes before spitting it out. The idea behind the practice is to remove bacteria from your teeth and mouth, which can then alleviate various other illnesses (including arthritis and fatigue). This practice has enjoyed renewed attention in recent years due to Bruce Fife’s popular book, Pulling Therapy.
  7. As a body moisturizer. Our skin absorbs whatever creams we put on it (think of all the topical pain relief medications that work because it gets absorbed through our skin). So, instead of pumping random chemicals from your moisturizers into your skin, many people (including myself) choose to use coconut oil instead. I like to use it at the end of my shower so that it’s more easily absorbed and before my skin has had a chance to dry out.
  8. As a sun-screen. This is not a high SPF sunscreen, but a 2013 study found that coconut oil absorbs 20% in the UVB region (this equates to something under SPF 10 – there’s disagreement as to the exact number). So definitely use other forms of natural sun-protection when you’re out.
  9. As a hair conditioner. I started using coconut oil as a hair conditioner a while ago, coupling it with diluted apple cider vinegar as the “shampoo.” Don’t use too much and just rub it on the ends of your hair so you don’t end up with oily hair!
  10. As a supplement. It’s suggested that taking coconut oil as a supplement can help with weight loss and increase your “good” cholesterol. I think it’s just good in general – it’s not a magic pill!
  11. As a massage oil. Coconut oil doesn’t get absorbed into your skin quickly, which ensures your skin stays slippery for longer thereby making it perfect for you to enjoin a long massage!
  12. To reduce scars. I’ve never tried this myself – but some people seem to have had great success with it.
  13. To treat lice. Apply it to your hair. There have been studies showing it is effective.
  14. Read more uses

how to cook fast and easy paleo meals

When Life Gets Hectic…

If you’re like me, then there are a lot of periods of your life when things get crazy hectic, and I mean really crazy hectic!

During those periods (e.g., finals at school, when all your kids are suddenly at home during the summer, or when work is overbearing), what you eat becomes less of a concern as Everything Else takes over!

I definitely recall that when my workload at the law firm increased, my diet would take a dramatic turn for the worse (let’s not even talk about my sleep and exercise!). Suddenly, the vending machine would unceasingly call my name and every dish on every take-out menu would make my mouth water.

I thought those stressful times were over when I quit the law firm life a month ago, but then the wedding planning kicked in. I’m sure anyone who has ever planned their own wedding will sympathize with me when I say that the week leading up to the wedding was definitely a bit stressful (and that’s a huge understatement)!

And to have to cook during that week for the entire family?? Hell, NO!

Thankfully, I had a system in place already which made eating healthy and Paleo for that week a breeze, and I’m going to share with you that amazing 3-step system in this post.

And don’t worry, I’m not just giving you some general fluff advice like “remember to plan your meals in advance” – these are concrete step-by-step details!
Discover the System!

engagement photoI hate how some people think that Paleo is not delicious to eat.

Have you ever had people ask you: “What do you eat if you don’t eat bread?”

I get asked this a lot, and my reaction is usually a fake laugh while inside my head, I’m thinking “ARE YOU CRAZY??”

But they’re not crazy, because we’re so bombarded by the food industry with crappy food that we forget what truly good food really is. One of my first reactions to Paleo many moons ago was: “What can you eat if there’s no cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, and pasta for dinner?”

I was faced again with this issue when planning my wedding (which is this Saturday). I have 60 non-Paleo family and friends attending, and they’re probably all wondering “ARE THEY GOING TO SERVE ME JUST BACON AND SWEET POTATOES?” (That’s a pretty delicious image, but not really wedding style.)

So, I had to go in search of a caterer who would cook a scrumptiously delicious and visibly beautiful wedding meal. Many of you probably think that was seriously difficult. After all, it’s hard to even find a single Paleo restaurant to eat at!

But it was surprisingly not hard at all, and Joshua Charles is the man who is making my wedding so special. I can’t thank him and Marian enough for making our Paleo Wedding dream become reality. (His team is even going to cook EVERYTHING in olive oil, coconut oil, or butter/ghee!)

In case you don’t believe me, here is the menu and some photos from the tasting (courtesy of my good friends, Caroline and Wayne, who did the tasting in California for us while we were still in NYC).
See Wedding Menu

staring eyes - vibrams

In New York City, your goal during the day is to get from A to B without any incidents.

So one of the first things you learn is to never stare at anyone and never to make eye contact! Only tourists and seriously curious people ever deviate and make that rookie mistake.

So why am I getting stares left and right as I walk down the crowded streets of New York? Am I so ugly that I merit the attention of self-obsessed New Yorkers?
Discover why I get stared at…

are microwaves paleo
Yeah, I’m fully aware of the fact that microwaves were not around in prehistoric times. In fact, they were invented by Percy Spencer shortly afer WW2, and the first one was sold in 1947.

So, why is it ok (and in fact, really good) for us to use a microwave when our ancestors managed to live perfect fine without it?

Well, below are my 7 top reasons (I’ve tried to keep too much physics out of it, although the physics of how a microwave oven works is what will really open your eyes to just how OK using a microwave is).
Read the 7 Reasons

Paleo Celery

I am allergic to life!

I’m not kidding! I’ve suffered from various mysterious allergic reactions for most of my life.

I’ve gone to school with random swollen knee joints, swollen eyes, half a swollen lip, rashes across my hands and back, red blotches on my face and neck, etc. It kinda sounds like I was beaten up a lot, but there was no bruising, just large red swollen patches.

For decades I tried to figure out the cause.

The doctors first thought I had chillblains when I was 11 years old and my knee and elbow joints kept swelling up. My mum threw away a brand new air-freshener from my bedroom because she thought that was the cause of it.

A friend told me that I had a very dire disease because my red blotches didn’t go away when they put a glass on it (I was terrified for a week!). During my first year of college, I stopped eating mushrooms for a year because I thought I was allergic to those (I wasn’t).

And recently, I went to 3 allergy specialists in New York City and had every pinprick test possible (I tested positive for just about everything)!
Read the rest of my story

what are paleo quail eggs?

Lately I’ve seen Quail Eggs everywhere!

They’re in recipes, on restaurant menus, in stores, and on Facebook. It’s like the world went quail egg crazy!

Are they healthier? Do they taste better? What is it???

So, I thought I’d cook them to see what all the fuss was about.

Along the way, I did some digging (on the internet) and found these 3 little known facts about Quail Eggs.

Continue Reading…

Why Sear Meat Before Cooking?

Am I lazy? Or, am I just “efficient”?

I’ve always hated doing anything that I didn’t feel was essential. In school, I wanted to do only the coursework that would most easily allow me to pass the exam. And now, when I cook, I just want the fastest and easiest way to get the tastiest food!

If you’re feeling generous, you might say I’m “results-oriented” or “efficient,” but really it’s pure laziness!

So here is what my laziness has to do with today’s article. If you’ve done much cooking, you’ve probably heard that you should sear meat before putting it into a stew. My reaction:

What? Why? It’s just going to get cooked in the stew – why do I need to waste my time searing it first?!?

Which all brings us to this question: Do you really need to sear the meat first?
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Why Blanch Vegetables?

Why Blanch Vegetables?
Has it ever seemed silly to you to blanch (i.e., drop into boiling water for a very short time) vegetables before cooking them or freezing them? Well, there’s actually a purpose to doing this as I’ll explain!

This article will detail:

  • What is blanching?
  • Why would you want to blanch vegetables?
  • How do you blanch vegetables?
  • How long should you blanch vegetables for?
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    stock or broth
    Ok, this question has been nagging at me for ages, and I’ve read tidbits about it before, but I finally decided to find out once and for all. In case you’ve been wondering the same thing…here’s the answer:
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    PaleoFX 2013 Roundup

    PaleoFX Austin Brisket
    This post could actually be titled “BEST BRISKET IN AUSTIN”…but I thought I would save that for next year when I’ll hopefully get to drive down to Lockhart again (the brisket center of the world)!

    This weekend (Thursday through Saturday) was PaleoFX in Austin, TX – a gathering of cool Paleo peeps from all walks of life and some from abroad too (I met lots of Canadians and Brits). It was also a weekend filled with lots of fun, eating, drinking, and occasional Paleo-cheats (like 2 Mac Attacks from Paleo Treats, a few scoops of Lick coconut ice-cream, and a delicious frozen banana from Bananarchy - more on these later!).

    In between the bouts of eating, there were informative talks on the cutting-edge science behind Paleo, fitness training sessions by some of the best trainers around, cooking demos from fabulous Paleo bloggers and chefs, and of course lots of hugs and handshakes from old and new friends.

    So who did I get to listen to, who did I get to meet, and most importantly, WHAT DID I GET TO EAT?
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    Recipe Copyright

    Are you scared that someone will steal your recipes (or perhaps someone already has)?

    Or are you scared that you might break the law when you post a recipe you read somewhere else?

    There’s a lot of confusion out on the web about what you can take from someone’s recipe and what you can’t take, so here is a definitive guide to finally put this sizzling issue to bed! (The caveat, of course, is that the law constantly changes, so it will never actually be put to bed completely.)

    This is the first of several articles that will address different aspects of protecting recipes, blog posts, and culinary discoveries. This particular article addresses whether or not there is actually copyright law protection for recipes (we look at the actual law not just speculations), as well as concrete steps you can take to enforce the rights you do have!

    First- surprise, surprise – here’s my legal disclaimer: nothing in this article (or at ancestralchef.com) is legal advice, and you should consult your lawyer for any legal advice! (And, also, this is from the perspective of US copyright law.)

    This is a length article, so here’s what in store for you (click to jump to that section):

  • What is Copyright Law?
  • A Brief History of Recipes and Copyright
  • Are Recipes Protected by Copyright Law?
  • So When is a Recipe Protected By Copyright Law?
  • So Should You Copy Everyone’s Recipes and Pretend They’re Your Own? It’s Legal, Right?
  • So What Does This Really Mean for Cooks and Bloggers?
  • But Ethically, How Should You Use Other People’s Recipes?
  • How To Figure Out if Someone Copied Your Recipe
  • What Can You Do if Someone Steals Your Photo or Recipe?
  • Do You Need a Copyright Symbol on Your Website?
  • What if You Want People to Copy Your Work?
  • Should Copyright Law Protect Recipes?
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    You are what you eat.

    You and I have both heard it thousands of times!

    But what does it really means? Is it even true?

    Turn out that it’s more than just true – it’s a massive understatement.

    Your Children and Grandchildren are also what you eat.

    That’s right – what you eat for dinner tonight may be affecting your unborn children and their children!

    This article will explain how that’s the case and what you should do about it.

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    Paleo Coconut Butter

    If you don’t know what Coconut Butter is, then that photo above and the rest of this article are going to change your life.

    Maybe you think that you eat some pretty delicious and healthy foods right now. Maybe you grew up eating and loving peanut butter.

    And maybe you’re about to find out why Coconut Butter is way healthier, way more delicious, and just way better

    I realize that coconut butter is not a common food for many people, so I’ll try to answer some common questions in this article:

    So What is Coconut Butter?

    I really didn’t know the answer to this question until I discovered coconut butter at the Weston A. Price conference last year.

    I’ve been in love ever since!

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    Paleo Is….?

    What is Paleo?
    Happy New Year to everyone. As we pass into a new year and a new set of resolutions, I pondered (rather philosophically) over exactly what is Paleo? This is actually a question I get asked a lot (and I’m sure if you’re Paleo, you’ve probably gotten asked it plenty of times too), and I never seem to have a quick simple answer (like an elevator pitch) because it means so many different things to me all at once. So, I decided to sum it up once and for all for everyone.

    Now, it’s over to you…What does Paleo mean to you?

    Pure Paleo Fat Loss Program

    Louise Yang Ancestral Chef

    Hi! I'm Louise - I am "beyond gluten-free," grain-free, paleo/primal, a lawyer, an ex-physicist, a cook, a blogger, a Brit living in the US, an ex-violin player, an occasional crossfitter, a mystery book junkie, and of course, I am the Ancestral Chef :) Read my About Me Page for more!

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